How to play great golf shots out of the rough

Shots from the Rough

When faced with a shot from the rough, use your head to think your way out of
trouble. The best rule to follow is to play it safe and choose the shot that
offers the best recovery with the minimum risk of leaving yourself in an even
more difficult situation. Trying an almost impossible recovery shot seldom
succeeds and a double or triple bogey usually follows. Treat the rough with the
respect it deserves, striving to incorporate the following general tips into
your recovery strategy.

Use a more lofted club to get maximum loft quickly. ‘Pop’ the ball out of heavy
or high rough. If you are a mid to high handicapper, choose the 5 wood over a
long iron. There is less tendency for the clubhead to get caught up in the

Choke down on the club 1″ to 2″. Open your stance slightly. Take the club up
more abruptly than a regular shot with the wrists breaking early.

In heavy rough, open the clubface slightly. Grass can wrap around the hosel and
close the clubface.

In light rough, take a more upright swing and hit down and through the ball.
Uneven Lies Most rounds of golf will produce abnormal lies. Handling these
situations is not that difficult if you approach your shot with a positive
mental attitude and adjust your swing accordingly.

Uphill lie. Take a normal stance, standing perpendicular to the slope. Take the
club back parallel to the slope and swing easily. Balls hit from uphill lies
tend to hook. Aim right to compensate.

Downhill lies. This is the most difficult lie to hit from. Stand perpendicular
to the slope and play the ball back in your stance. Follow the slope on the
backswing and stay down through the impact zone. Don’t lift your head!

Ball above the feet. Choke down on the club. Play for a hook. Ball below the
feet. Bend the knees and waist and stay down through the shot. Play for a slice.

Buried Balls / Buried Lies in Greenside Bunkers When you plug a ball into a
bunker so deep you can only see the top, you are in trouble. Any questions about

Take your normal address position for a bunker shot – Keep your stance open,
and play the ball forward in your stance.

Now, close the face of the wedge. Make it look like a two or three iron!! Now,
swing with conviction (but don’t lose your form. Keep your natural swing, but be
aggressive). Don’t forget to follow through!!!

Remember from previous lessons: You still want to hit the ball as if it were on
a pancake, or sprinkler head (obviously, imagining this). Hit the front of the
pancake (in other words, hit behind the ball about 2 inches). Thickness of the
sand matters: If relatively loose, hit about 2 inches behind. Relatively hard,
hit closer to an inch behind.

And if you fail, get the ball, step on it and pound it in the sand, and try

Remember, most of us practice on the course!! (Just don’t hold up play).

Hard Ground/Divot Holes/Pine Needles When hitting from difficult lies, try not
to let yourself get ‘psyched’ up over the prospect of a poor shot.

Instead, take a three-quarter backswing for maximum control and make the
following swing adjustments.

On hardpan, play the ball farther back in your stance.

Play a normal ‘hardpan’ shot making sure to hit down into the ball.

Keep your hands ahead of the ball at the address position and be sure to hit
down into the ball.

Hit down into the ball when the ball is centered in a divot.

Depending on where your ball is in the divot you should do one of the

1. Either firm up your grip and close your clubface a little to prevent the
edge of the divot from opening the toe at impact.


2. Firm up your grip and open the clubface slightly to prevent the divot from
catching the heel and closing the face at impact.


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